ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - The Gophers basketball team wrapped up their regular season Sunday and although it’s been a tough run, three incoming freshman could help Minnesota next year. Jarvis Omersa is one of those freshmen, but his journey to the basketball court is a unique one.
Just a few years ago Omersa had a dream to work hard enough to get a NCAA Division I scholarship—for hockey. If not on the ice, Omersa thought football would be the next best option. Neither happened, but the 6’8 senior will still be playing at Minnesota in a sport he started playing only a few years ago.
“Five years ago I wasn’t even playing ball,” Omersa told Fox 9. “It’s kind of weird. It just happened, like, step by step by step.”
Omersa is now one of the top basketball recruits in the state and will join the Gophers next season as part of the team’s 2018 recruiting class.
“I tried it out in 7th grade,” Omersa said. “I didn’t make it and I got cut. It definitely did light a fuse and I am actually kind of grateful for that.”
Growing up, Omersa found a groove at the rink playing hockey and also football. He played any sport he could except for basketball.
That changed a few years before high school. He moved to North St. Paul and missed the date to sign up for an area hockey team. Fearful that he would be behind the ensuing season, Jarvis found football. His friends then urged him to join their basketball team and the rest is history.
Unlike other sports, Jarvis says that basketball took the most effort to master, but that work is what makes this entire ride worthwhile.
“What really separates [basketball] is that I had to work for it,” Omersa said. ”I had to actually grind for hours and hours to be good at it, and now that it is paying off it is so worth it.”
Jarvis is already looking ahead at his future by watching every Gophers game this season, and hopes that he can help bring Minnesota from “sleeper team” status to championship contender.
“Final Four or NCAA Championship,” Omersa said about the team’s potential.
Omersa is part of the Gophers’ 2018 recruiting class that includes fellow Minnesota signees Daniel Oturu of Cretin-Derham Hall and Gabe Kalscheur from De La Salle.